Rejection hurts – but keep going

Rejection is hard. It breaks our spirit, making us second guess our self worth and skill. Rejection can paralyze. We all face rejection in life, be it personal or professionally – but it hits you particularly hard when you are transitioning to a new challenge. For sales professionals, rejection is part of the daily grind.

Rejection is hard, but it doesn’t have to define you. Often rejection can be an open door to a better opportunity. In sales rejection – doesn’t mean no forever – you just have to figure out the ‘why’ behind the ‘no.’

Sales people often joke that we are gluttons for punishment because on a given day you could reach out to 100 prospects and be lucky to have one person take your call. In my lead gen days the logic was if you make enough dials you’ll eventually get to yes. And to a point that is true – persistence is what builds character and success in business and in life. 99 customers might not be interested, but if you can connect with the one that needs help that is a win.

Within the sales prospecting sphere – churn and burn has it’s place – but rejection should also lead to introspection. Taking time to review your pitch and is it relevant for your customers. Are you making effective use of prospecting – or just throwing darts at the board.

Rejection stings but in sales and life you have to be quick to learn from it, let it go and move on.

  1. Did I position value to the client? If not how can I improve in my next interaction to ensure I connect authentically with the client?
  2. What was the root cause of the rejection – are they simply going to reject every sales call – or did they have a legitimate objection. In reviewing the ‘why’ behind the rejection – you are able to understand how you can better help future clients. It is important to take stock of this because the why behind the rejection will guide you as you finesse your skill. It also helps you to see the interaction from a learning perspective. If they truly had not legitimate reason to say ‘no’ then let it go and move on. Others will be ready for your help.
    • Within every rejection is the potential for objection handling, which we will discuss in a future post.

Rejection is something that is expected, but still stings when you are in sales. Especially when you have built rapport and the client is ready to purchase – when out of the blue – ‘No’ – this will be a deeper dive in my blog. At the end of the day hindsight is 20/20, but it still makes it hard.

I’ve had this happen at the end of the quarter and it crushed my soul. I started to question my worth as a sales person. My manager reminded me that as long as you did everything within your power to build value, and close the sale – then it wasn’t my failure – but simply ‘not this time.’

I felt compelled to write this today because outside of my sales job, I’ve been working on submitting a novel I wrote to publishers/agents. They say there is a 1 in 6000 chance of finding a literary agent – even if your book is in top shape. Publishing, like sales, is a hard business when it comes to ‘no’ and the rejection hurts.

But with each rejection I assess:

  • What did I do well?
  • What could I have done differently?
  • How can I take this rejection and move forward?

In my case I am going to tweak my query letter, but I also have realized that rejection sometimes isn’t logical. Clients (like Literary Agents) are guided by emotions – logic helps – but emotion is key. Sometimes you catch a prospect at the wrong time – they are upset because they spilled coffee on their laptop and you are not Apple calling to help 🙂 – but call tomorrow and it could be a different story.

The same goes if you are looking for a new job. I truly believe that being rejected for a job is a blessing if is not the right job for you. I look at the past ten years of my career and the jobs I didn’t get – at the time I felt so hurt – but they were not the right fit for me. If I had gotten those jobs – I wouldn’t have ended up on the journey I’m on now. I don’t say this to belittle the experience with job rejection – but to encourage that you are qualified and will get the best job for you – keep going.

Going into next week – realize rejection happens and it is okay. It does not mean you are a failure – it means you are working your way to the yes that matters. The key is don’t let your feelings of depression from rejection sideline you. Make a list of what you learned and take the rejection to empower you to future success. This is a battle of the mind – but you can do it! As a person of faith – I lean into prayer to propel me forward. ‘Help me get through this.’

Just keep going.

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